At the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and customer relationship management (CRM) software is economic opportunity for enterprises that seize it, according to a forecast from Salesforce and IDC.
AI-enabled CRM to drive an additional $1.1 trillion in additional global business revenue by 2021, states their report. There's also good news for folks who fear that AI is coming for their jobs.
Based on the responses of the over 1,000 organizations surveyed for the report, IDC expects this new economic activity to generate more than 800,000 direct jobs by 2021. Adding indirect jobs pushes the total to 2 million jobs.
Although there's no escaping the AI buzz this year, 2018 promises to be "a landmark year for AI adoption," according to the companies.
By 2018, IDC predicts that three-quarters (75 percent) of enterprise and ISV (independent software vendor) development efforts will involve AI or machine-learning, for at least one software application. Within the next two years, 40 percent of companies plan to adopt some form AI.
"AI is impacting all sectors of the economy and every business. For the CRM market—the fastest-growing category in enterprise software—the impact of AI will be profound, ushering in new levels of productivity for employees and empowering companies to drive even better experiences for their customers," said Keith Block, vice chairman, president and COO of Salesforce, in a statement. "For companies embracing AI, it's critical that they create new workforce development programs to ensure employees are prepared for this next wave of innovation."
Of course, Salesforce is no stranger to AI.
In September 2016, after a rash of acquisitions, the leading cloud CRM provider announced its own AI technology dubbed Einstein. Last week, the company announced Einstein Analytics, which automatically generates CRM insights for users and offers recommended actions aimed at helping to improve the effectiveness of their customer service, sales and marketing activities.
"We have broken down barriers to data accessibility, exploration, visualization, actionability and today we are building on that momentum by adding the power of AI," remarked Ketan Karkhanis, general manager of Salesforce Analytics, in a June 15 announcement. "With Einstein Analytics, every CRM user can now see not only what happened in their business, but why it happened and what to do about it, without requiring a team of data science experts."